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morning light

4 January 2011

Wow, I missed December entirely. Let’s see. We shopped. We wrapped gifts.We played in the snow. We adored Uncle Nate’s dog Mac. Wash, rinse, repeat. We also played dreidl with Bubbe Fran. Had a delightful visit from Santa and a nice gathering with my mom’s family. We had friend’s over for New Year’s. 6 month olds are so precious – I’d believe they are a plot to make you think your 2 year old is a giant and you wish you could have another baby. WE ARE NOT HAVING ANOTHER BABY.

Since the shortest day of the year, I have been enjoying the morning light. It seems ridiculous to notice the (extra, brighter) light. How can it be different? – it didn’t feel that different as the days grew shorter and shorter. But the light feels like a Hopper painting. The morning ones, not the indoor nighttime ones.

I’ve always been glad that the Mill Rd. (Milwaukee) Public Library had a nice book of Hopper prints when I was assigned to find an artist to copy in art class in high school. I fell in love with the ways America looks in Hopper paintings. I nearly always choose a Hopper image for my desktop wallpaper and usually have a Hopper calendar on the wall. My attempts at imitation were only flattering in the sense of the saying. But seeing how hard it is to capture light – to understand how revolutionary those seventeenth Dutch masters really were.

This year, I feel like I am seeing something new. The important part is that I am seeing it, not that it is new. The winter morning light.  I’ve always though summer was the season of light. The lush greens, the bright blues – made for Kodachrome and Paul Simon. Our wedding day is a happy memory, not just because I was ecstatically happy to marry Rob, but because the summer light was gorgeous. But this winter is challenging me to think beyond the grayness of December, and the heavy darkness of the fading light in November. January has had wide skies, cool light, pastel colors that don’t seem muted. And February will be gray again, I’m sure, as the snow gets old and dirty and winter gets (even more) tiring. Until then, I am enjoying the long light in the mornings. And wondering if heading to the western deserts in winter isn’t just smart for the temperature, but for the mirage.

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